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11th community OpenFOAM Workshop: finally managed to attend one of these! Part 1

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11th community OpenFOAM Workshop: finally managed to attend one of these! Part 1

Posted July 3, 2016 at 12:43 by wyldckat

While the latest OpenFOAM-dev and 4.0 snapshots are building on my machine, I'm taking the opportunity to write a bit of what happened at the 11th community OpenFOAM Workshop this year (2016), at least from my point of view. I'm not going to write everything, otherwise it would be a short book, including information that was damaged due to memory compression in my mind.

I've been using OpenFOAM since 2009 and only this year did I finally manage to go to an international community workshop on OpenFOAM technology, which is named "OpenFOAM Workshop" to make it easier to remember. This year was here in Portugal, up north in Guimarães, nearly 400km away from where I live. If I didn't attend this year, it would be very unlikely I would have ever been able to do to one of these, given that I'm always busy with work. Furthermore, statistically speaking, it will likely take another 5-7 years until I can attend another one... but who knows.

If that wasn't enough, I also:
  • Took care of creating the USB stick images for the workshop, which are fully documented here: - people part of the sweat4foam team at the University of Minho were the ones doing the burning of these images to 300 USB-sticks.
  • Contacted potential instructors and helped coordinate most of the courses that were given at the workshop. I wasn't able to handle all of it on my own, due to stress and workload in the last month or two before the workshop, so people part of the sweat4foam took care of a lot of the remaining details.
  • At the workshop, on the courses day, I went around between 2 hands-on training rooms to help sort out some of the USB-sticks that weren't booting all that well on some laptops.
  • On Wednesday morning I gave the first lecture, with the title "Contributing a perspective on one open-source and community contributor: wyldckat". It felt really weird having to give a lecture which was essentially about me and what I do for a living...
So, to give a bit of time line and to make it a bit easier for me to remember, here are some of the highlights that I can remember that I believe are worthwhile to write publicly about.

On the 26th was the registration day, which I arrived too late for the registration hours. It ended at 18h00 and I only drove by at around 18h20.
  • After checking in at the hotel and having dinner, I started to take care of part of the lecture I had to give on Wednesday.
  • Yes, my previous weeks were that busy, even though I took off the week before as a vacation, but only half of the time was spent resting... the rest was wrapping up details for the USB-sticks, workshop courses and a side project a colleague asked for my help with.
  • So I only started writing the lecture on that night.

On the 27th:
  • I had to wake up early at 6h30 to be at 8h00 in the venue in time to register. (Yes, unfortunately 6h30 is way too early for me...)
  • At around 8h30 started the lecture sessions and I finally managed to see first hand one of Hrvoje Jasak's "A year in review", which I usually have to wait a few weeks until it's online.
    • A lot of information was given at that presentation, including details about a few critical fixes that have been made in foam-extend, related to simpleFoam, icoFoam and sonicFoam. More details about this were given another presentation entitled "Stability Improvements Of Pressure-Based Compressible Solver And Validation For Industrial Turbo-Machinery Applications".
    • Block-coupled solvers in foam-extend are getting better and better, with convergences in so fewer iterations, that it almost looks like humanity is getting closer and closer to simulating real life physics in real time.
    • At the program page is the link to the abstracts book, which provides at least some information about this, until the presentations are up on the website.
  • The next lecture "Fighting bugs with HPC..." by Ulf Lindblad, Tetra Pak, gave an interesting perspective on the cost-benefit of commercial licenses: what costs them the most money aren't the software licenses, it's the human resources. The simulations they've been doing are very complex and a fixed investment in HPC hardware over the years still resulted in not being able to scale their HPC resources. Either way, they've been able to create an overwhelming work flow + virtual development line in order to achieve excellence in their massive machinery for creating various sterilized packages.
  • After the coffee break, I ended up attending the wrong session track... I wanted to see "Pre-processing, Post-processing, Meshing and User Environments I" and ended up seeing "Acoustics / Compressible Flows". Fortunately, the session I wanted to attend was overflowing and there were no seats, which resulted in finally managing to meet Bernhard Gschaider in person, who had come from that other session after finding it was full.
    • The presentations in this session did give me a few lights into what's needed (i.e. equations) for performing acoustics simulations and a few of the problems that each project went through.
    • Unfortunately, I was seating down under the AC ventilation shaft, so I was so very cold at the end of the track... all I wanted was to get back to the sun and heat outside.
  • At lunch, I lunched alone, given that I'm not much of a socializer and all I wanted was food and warming up.
    • Sat on the grass, part below the shade, part getting some sun, so that my body temperature could return to a fair level.
    • After eating, I happened to find Henrik Rüsche and managed to talk a bit with him about the build we had on the pre-release of foam-extend 4.0 and the FSI toolkit, which wasn't possible to be integrated into the pre-release due to a few minor issues.
    • Then I went to talk with a few of the people part of the sweat4foam with whom I've exchanged emails while we were setting up things for the workshop.
    • Ended up helping the first person who had issues with booting the USB stick.
  • Afterwards, I managed to see part of the presentation "Challenges on the Injection Molding Industry" by Marcos Sampaio, Celoplás/Nanologic. Pretty awesome work they've been doing, although I've unfortunately drawn a blank on what I saw there
  • In the afternoon, I ended up talking with a few people and I can't remember if I attended any presentation track in the afternoon.
  • Saw and rated a few posters, because they were going to give a prize to the best poster on Wednesday.
  • Went back to the hotel, had dinner and took care of the rest of the presentation for the lecture I had to give... it was 02h30 in the night when I finally managed to finish the slides.

On the 28th:
  • Had to come in early at 8h00 again, in order to be ready for the training sessions, i.e. I was going to be present at two of the training rooms to ensure that everyone was able to use the USB sticks, either by live booting it or by booting the USB stick into a VM within VirtualBox.
  • If my memory serves be correctly, at lunch time I managed to meet and talk with Håkan Nilsson, the professor of the famed "MSc/PhD course in CFD with OpenSource software" courses, for which the reports and resulting work by students are posted online here:
  • In the afternoon, was another session of me going back and forth between the two training rooms.
  • At the end of the sessions, I somehow got to talk with 3 people from ICON. I got to know a bit more about them and the company.
  • At 18h30 or 19h00, I went back to the hotel, had dinner, did a few fixes to the presentation I had and went to sleep early... I think I was asleep sometime after 23h00... I was pretty much exhausted from the day and the few hours of sleep I had the past few days.

On the 29th:
  • Arrived something like 8h10. Was a bit nervous, but being sleepy managed to help curb the nerves.
  • Talked a bit with Robin Knowles, who was going to give his lecture a bit after I did mine.
  • Before the lectures, it was announced that OFW12 in 2017 will be in Exeter, in the United Kingdom (England if we're future-proofing this sentence ). Gavin Tabor presented a few details to look for about the venue.
  • And finally, I had to give my lecture. Fortunately I didn't freeze up. I tried my best to give a good (informal) lecture, although I clearly need more training in giving this kind of lecture. I tried to be show that my willingness to help others is something that I've been doing ever before I ever knew OpenFOAM existed and what drives me to continue helping.
    • For more details, the book of abstracts is already on the workshop's website and the presentation slides will be up in the next couple of weeks.
    • There were a few questions, although having to answer them on the spot felt that I wasn't able to have good enough quality control on what I said.
  • Continues in part 2.
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